Five on the bounce! Norwich City now lay 5th in the Championship and only three points off top place. Head of Connor Southwell analyses the match against in-form Wigan Athletic

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Five wins on the bounce, currently sitting within the playoff places and only a mere three points from the summit of the table.

It’s fair to say Norwich have harvested genuine upward mobility.

If you’re keener on trends rather than runs of progressive form, then Norwich have won 8 of their last 13 games in all competitions. That is a complement to the improvement seen coupled with the balance unearthed within Norwich’s starting line up.

Mood music is key in football.

Prior to that Middlesbrough fixture, the overriding thoughts was that of scepticism and impatience. Fast forward two weeks, and Carrow Road is a cauldron of positivity and vibrancy, united in supporting one cause.

No moans, no subplots, just support visible in both colour and voice.

That is when Norwich City supporters are at their best, and there are few better sights than the Barclay jumping with energy and joy after a win.

After the elation of this recent spell, it seemed also inevitable that a drab 0-0 draw would bring Norwich City back down to earth. Yet, this current group of players discovered a way to win the fixture, despite not operating at the fullest of their powers.

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In contrast to that wonderful opening 30 minutes at Loftus Road whereby Norwich asserted their methodology onto the game and did so to a level at which was too much for QPR to respond to at points.

This performance wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing or full to the brim with quality.

The Championship is a division whereby sometimes aesthetic is put on the backburner.

Streetwise operators such as Mick McCarthy, Neil Warnock and Ian Holloway have forged careers on ensuring they end matches with points, rather than the all-encompassing style of other coaches, who focus on performances and philosophies.

Success in the heat of battle requires a multifaceted approach.

Some fixtures will allow Norwich to assert their footballing philosophy onto proceeds with greater ease, yet others will require them to dig in and resort to other methods in order to find success. Norwich got a penalty, with that comes an element of luck, but had this fixture of been played last season, it would have petered out in a similar vein to that of Burton Albion.

Norwich dropped a numerous amount of points last season in NR1, due to their lack of ability of finding a way. Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United was based of conjuring up wins from somewhere.

Prosperity in this league requires those alternative faces.

This newfound balance has involved a youthful complexion to the side. Both Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis have been lauded from all quarters for their high standard of performance.
With youth, comes inconsistency.

Aarons’ and Lewis both seemed mentally fatigued following four games in two weeks, and the ball acted as a hot potato at times, with the usually measured play on the ball not as evident in this fixture.

They were both loose in possession, Aarons in particular will learn from this game. His emergence has been rapid and prior to this fixture, without fault. This is where operating under a coach like Daniel Farke will be pivotal to how he responds.

Farke is experienced in youth development and managing youth prospects successfully, no doubt he will be able to ensure Aarons leaves this performance behind him.

Lewis grew into the game a little bit more, and in the second half displayed more of a recovery to his first half struggles. He is six months further down the line to Aarons and two years his senior, so for Aarons, this is nothing major, but merely a part of the education process.

Since his appointment, Farke’s reluctance to act with proactivity in regards to his substitutions has been a major factor for criticism for supporters.

This time out, Farke was aggressive and keen to change the direction of the game. One of those introduced to proceedings was Mario Vrancic.

Vrancic’s adaptation to the English game was a lengthy process. It was only towards the culmination of last season that his qualities became consistently visible. The Bosnian has begun this season as he ended the last, with moments of quality and oozing technical class.

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His pass to Marco Stiepermann was simply sublime. Vrancic’s range of passing provided Norwich with a dimension beyond the Wigan back four. It was only upon Vrancic’s arrival that Teemu Pukki really stretched the defensive line of the visitors.

Despite Cantwell’s emergence, Vrancic will be itching for a starting berth. Both his influence in the Reading game and now this fixture mean he will be chomping at the bit to get his opportunity.

Stiepermann himself is becoming quite the revelation.

Seen as a utility player, Stiepermann has operated in a breadth of roles for Norwich since his arrival. He is now beginning to flourish in that attacking midfield position. When at Borussia Dortmund, Stiepermann was known for his ability to score goals and produce moments of quality, albeit at youth level.

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Long may it continue for the German as Norwich supporters are beginning to witness the best of Stiepermann, and in his current form, he is one of the first names on the team sheet.

Fifth in the table and boasting a positive goal difference for the first time under Daniel Farke’s stewardship, September has been a glorious month to support the Canaries in all competitions.

Their true quality will be witnessed after a dent in the road.

If Norwich can lose and then respond with more winning performances, then there will be belief that they can achieve something this season.

For now, enjoyment at this run must be had, but as the relentless nature of the division takes Norwich to newly named Frank Lampard’s Derby County, there is little room from breath and reflection.

Connor Southwell

Managing the TNC website, Connor's adherence with Norwich City manifested itself from an early age and has been a rollercoaster, witnessing football from League One to the Premier League. He once played a bit too, Connor attempts to write sensibly and honestly. Which is hard being a NCFC fan!

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